Best Ways To Store Your Cannabis And Keep It Fresh

Best Ways To Store Your Cannabis And Keep It Fresh

Luke Sumpter
Luke Sumpter
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Storing cannabis buds isn't as simple as stashing snacks and goodies in cupboards. There are some important variables to consider, and things to avoid, in order to secure a high-quality stash that will last more than just a few weeks. Read on for everything you need to know to keep your cannabis fresh over time.

Storing cannabis buds isn’t as simple as stashing snacks in the pantry. Multiple factors have to be considered to ensure your flowers stay viable as long as possible, and don’t fall prey to issues like mould.

Unfortunately, many people commit crucial mistakes that culminate in buds that lose flavour, potency, or both—every smoker’s nightmare.

So, whether you’re a grower or prefer to stash in bulk, below we cover how to store your weed for the relative long term, without losing out on THC or terpenes.

Why is it important to store cannabis correctly?

Why Is It Important To Store Cannabis Correctly?

As mentioned, proper cannabis storage is vital, as your stash can degrade in potency, flavour, and general quality over time, becoming dry and harsh to smoke. Cannabis buds may not have an expiration date—and you can keep them fresh for at least six months—but you’re best off smoking them within the year to avoid dealing with undesirable flavours or a harsh smoke.

Proper storage is also important for safety and cohabitation purposes. If you’re living with kids or pets, keeping your buds away from plain view is best. You don’t want any untoward situations popping up, especially when they can be easily avoided.

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What will happen if your cannabis gets old?

What Will Happen If Your Cannabis Gets Old?

We’ve mentioned how buds that are improperly stored can lose flavour and potency, but how? When it comes to flavour, the aromatic terpenes responsible for cannabis’ iconic scents and tastes will degrade over time, especially when exposed to light, air, and high temperatures. The same can be said for THC, which degrades into CBN, resulting in a diminished high.

Furthermore, old, stale cannabis does not feel good to the touch. It is more crumbly in terms of texture—a far cry from its moist, sticky exterior when fresh.

You don’t need to be an expert to know if your stash is still fresh or has gone stale. Using three of your senses (sight, smell, and touch), you can determine if your buds are still viable.

Factors to consider when storing weed long term

So, we’ve told you what can go wrong with your stash if improperly stored, but what factors are responsible for degrading your buds, and how can you prevent them from taking hold?

Curing is essential

Cannabis curing is a time-consuming yet essential process that involves drying and “ageing” the buds. The goal is to preserve enough moisture to limit unnecessary dryness, while also limiting the development of mould.

This process can take up to four weeks, or longer, and involves storing buds in airtight mason jars in a dark, cool place.

Humidity

A big part of the curing and storage process is to optimise humidity. Buds are best stored at a relative humidity of 58–62%, as this will keep them suitably dry but not crispy. And most importantly, it will help to prevent the development of mould. Many smokers and growers buy humidity packs to ensure the ideal range inside their curing and storage jars; it’s an easy way to guarantee nothing goes awry.

Temperature

Temperature

Like with humidity, temperature plays a large role in preventing mould development and keeping THC and terpenes intact. The best storage temperature for cannabis is around 15–20°C; any higher and issues can start to occur. It's also best not to go lower than this range, as buds don't appreciate chilly temperatures either.

Air

During the curing process, it’s important to open the jars once a day to allow for air circulation. However, once suitably cured, it’s best to keep the buds sealed in their container, as excess air just causes oxidation, which fast-tracks the degradation process. For both curing and longer-term storage, mason jars are the ideal tool to limit oxidation.

Light

Light

There’s a reason cannabis plants are best off stored in cooler, darker places. Too much light, especially UV light, will diminish THC levels, and therefore, the potency of your buds. The plant’s trichomes will also take a beating when exposed to too much light. You may end up with less sticky, more crumbly buds, and that’s not something you want.

Cleanliness

This one should go without saying. Since you will be smoking, vaping, or otherwise consuming the buds, you want your storage containers to be sufficiently clean. Aside from general hygiene, keeping your jars clean will ensure no bacteria or fungi takes hold inside. You don’t need to overdo it; a good wash with some warm, soapy water should do it.

Always use containers

Always Use Containers

Yes, you can technically keep your weed in ziplock baggies, but this will only lead to dry buds down the line. Instead, many growers choose to invest in some basic glass mason jars with airtight lids. Be careful about using metal containers, as these can alter the taste of your stash, depending on the type of metal used.

Wood is another one to be wary of, though it can work. For example, a humidor could be an appropriate storage vessel for weed, as it’s used to maintain cigars. A cedar box, however, might interfere with the flavour and viability of the buds, so it would be best to avoid that.

Can you store weed without smell?

If you’d rather keep your cannabis habit as discreet as possible, there are some things you can do to decrease the chances of wayward weed smells escaping your storage vessel.

Try vacuum sealing

Try Vacuum Sealing

One way to keep the smell and unwanted attention away is to use vacuum seal packs. By doing this, you not only trap any smell from coming out, but you also keep your buds exceptionally fresh.

Now, it can be a bit of a hassle to vacuum seal your stash after every use. So if you choose to go this route, make sure it’s for long-term storage. Otherwise, go with a mason jar that you can open and close while keeping outside elements away.

Airtight containers

Airtight Containers

Airtight containers aren’t only good for preventing excess moisture and mould; they are also effective in keeping that pungent smell from escaping into the immediate surroundings.

Apart from mason jars, stainless steel tubs with a plastic seal should also work well. And unlike regular steel, it is not susceptible to chemical reactions and will not break down. Therefore, it will not affect the taste of your buds like regular steel potentially could.

Cannabis storage mistakes to avoid

Now that you know the proper way to store cannabis, and the reasoning behind it, let’s shift our focus a bit. Here are a couple of cannabis storage mistakes to avoid. Many people are guilty of committing them, so don’t be part of that statistic.

Fridge or freezer

Oddly enough, some folks put their buds in the fridge or freezer. Even if you wrap your stash in foil or put it in bags and containers, these are not ideal locations for long-term storage.

For one, there is the issue of inconsistent, fluctuating temperatures, especially when storing bud in the refrigerator. That’s an easy way to attract mould and ruin your stash altogether.

But another big issue is that the bud’s precious trichomes will break off when exposed to the cold temperatures of the freezer. What you get, in turn, is a less potent, and pretty much unusable, stash of grass. If you grew the buds yourself, that’s a lot of hard work down the drain. To put it simply, don’t store your weed inside the fridge or freezer. You’ll thank yourself later.

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Plastic bags

Plastic Bags

You’ll notice that freshly bought buds from the weed store often come in plastic bags. For short-term storage, plastic does the job just fine. But if we’re talking about the long term, it’s not such a good idea.

Plastic, for one, is an insulator. It has a static charge that builds up on its surface, which could cause some of the trichomes to fall off. Another issue with plastic is that it can cause moisture buildup. We’ve already discussed why this should be prevented when dealing with cannabis buds. Furthermore, plastic can affect the flavour of the buds over time.

Yes, plastic is easily accessible, somewhat durable, and cheap. But if we’re talking about maintaining your hard-earned stash, go for something more reliable.

Don’t skimp on cannabis storage

Don’t Skimp On Cannabis Storage

From this article, you’ve learned the proper ways to store cannabis, and what not to do. Now all that’s left is to apply this knowledge to your stashing practices going forth. In turn, you'll be rewarded with a constantly fresh stash to share and enjoy.

Luke Sumpter
Luke Sumpter
With a BSc (Hons) degree in Clinical Health Sciences and a passion for growing plants, Luke Sumpter has worked as a professional journalist and writer at the intersection of cannabis and science for the past 7 years.